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The Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator and director of the Conference's Disaster Recovery Ministry is retiring after 16 years of helping people recover from catastrophe.
Hurricane brought strong winds, torrential rain to west Florida and south Alabama.
A look at FloridaRestores in action.
Floridians know all about the power of hurricanes. But with COVID-19 added to the mix, don't put off preparing your hurricane plan.
Although many homes still need repairs, financial resources are drying up, and volunteers are moving elsewhere.
The Florida Conference will dedicate three rebuilt homes—one in LaBelle and two in Clewiston—with two of the ceremonies conducted completely in Spanish, a first.
Many of you and your congregants have been asking how you can help the Bahamas after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. A Hurricane Dorian fact sheet was sent to your districts Thursday to update them on current activities in the Bahamas and how we, as The United Methodist Church, are responding—both now and over the next few months.
Bishop Carter encourages reception of an offering for the United Methodist Committee on Relief in the midst and aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
In addition to our partners at Johns Eastern, we have engaged the Aon Global Rapid Response team to aid in the timely processing of our claims. The Aon Rapid Response experts will arrive at the hardest hit areas within 48-72 hours after landfall of the storm.
As many as 3,000 people lost their lives in Puerto Rico—a number that is believed to be severely under-reported in the early days of the aftermath. The island, already in economic distress before the storm, still struggles with recovery.
Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science expects as many as 12 named storms with five or more becoming full-fledged hurricanes. They predict that at least two will become major hurricanes with wind levels reaching Category 3 or stronger.
“I have been on a lot of mission trips,’’ said Rev. Stuart Bodin, pastor of Miami Lakes UMC. “But I’ve never had a better experience than this one. It was remarkable to feel the Holy Spirit in action and experience that level of faith and love.’’
The housing for disaster recovery volunteers was created by the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), an organization founded in February of last year and consisting of faith-based organizations, including the Conference, non-profits, businesses and government agencies.
For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have been taking part in a special UMCOR Sunday offering, laying the foundation for UMCOR’s ministry of relief and hope.
Inspired by a matching funds challenge of $500,000 from First UMC Ormond Beach, Florida Conference churches raised over $1 million for Hurricane Michael relief for the Alabama West Florida Conference. A total of $1,533,096 was donated to their recovery.
The number of volunteers dropped off significantly after attention shifted to areas in the Carolinas hit by Florence, then to the Panhandle, devastated this summer by Michael.
The Florida Conference is celebrating GivingTuesday, Nov. 27, this year by asking donors to contribute to the Hurricane Michael matching fund. Click here to donate online.
The people of the First United Methodist Church of Ormond Beach have challenged the Florida Annual Conference to help our sisters and brothers in the panhandle through a matching gift up to the amount of $500,000.
We know all too well the shock and helpless feeling hurricane survivors are left with when the storms pass. After a weather event of this magnitude, there are many ways to help but monetary donations are crucial in the immediate aftermath
Before Hurricane Michael slammed into Panama City and the Florida Panhandle and left jaw-dropping carnage in its wake, The United Methodist Church was already planning how best to serve victims of the ferocious Category 4 storm.
Be smart and be safe. Most serious injuries and death occur after the storm has passed. As you check your home and check on neighbors, pay attention to your surroundings, looking for downed power lines, snakes, red ant mounds (which travel in flood waters) and other hazardous debris the storm may bring. Photo courtesy Rev. Wayne Wiatt.
Your prayers and gifts to UMCOR are the best possible resources to share before, during and after Florence makes landfall. We know firsthand the difference those gifts can make, as we first responded in the aftermath and then began the long road of recovery–a road we are still traveling today!
In the shadow of Walt Disney World, which calls itself the happiest place on Earth, there is another, far-different story taking place.
Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Irma are not alone thanks to connections of volunteers established by Florida Restores.
Seven months after Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys last September, the Rev. Terri Hill, pastor at Key West United Methodist Church, reflected on how the world embraced her small community.
Many schools refer to mission trips as “alternative spring breaks.” The Virginia Tech campus minister says for the Wesley Foundation “it's not an alternative. It's just what they do.”
In April, a team of skilled volunteers from First United Methodist Church in Land O'Lakes responded to disaster recovery needs in the Florida Keys. The team brought tools and construction know-how to Big Pine Key UMC where they installed new doors in the church facilities.
Case managers help survivors figure out where they are, what recovery looks like for them, walk them through the process and help them identify and access resources.
Working with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners in Gulfport, this June young adults will be painting, doing minor floor repairs, working on siding and debris cleanup, among other things.
Assess your church’s readiness. Trim tree limbs, sandbag doors, take an inventory of property and check insurance coverage, especially the hurricane deductible. If possible, put aside funds to cover damage that isn’t covered by insurance.
In these photos, submitted by disaster recovery construction coordinator Hank Lunsford, a spirit of generosity is seen in volunteer teams hailing from across the country as they work hard to put roofs back over people's heads.
Maria, one of the worst Atlantic storms of the last century, left many Puerto Rican families with little or no possessions. Some still suffer from post-traumatic stress, and all are struggling to figure out their futures.
More than seven months into recovery, area churches and established businesses continue to play important roles they adopted in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
While still in the throes of major renovations to their hurricane-damaged church property, this Jacksonville church continued finding ways to serve the surrounding community.
The AmeriCorps Tribal CCC (Civilian Community Corps) Program of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California spent 17 days helping those still dealing with effects from Hurricane Irma. The team worked in Everglades City, 31 miles southeast of Marco Island in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Mission teams that come to Immokalee volunteer to help some of the most disadvantaged survivors of Hurricane Irma. A team of young adults hailing from Indiana saw this devastation and was invigorated to offer help.
United Methodist Students at Marshall University sacrificed their spring break for power tools and grout to help Big Pine Key recover from Hurricane Irma.
During spring and Christmas breaks when many of their classmates are enjoying recreational activities, young adults from campus ministries and others seeking a nontraditional holiday, come to Florida to do mission work.
It's not often that someone lands a dream job at age 76, but that's what happened to Lunsford when he started in the coordinator position on Dec. 26, 2017. “The first paycheck I got, I felt like it was sinful to take it,” he said. “I never dreamed that God would get me a job that I loved so much. I spend the whole day doing things for people who can't do for themselves.”
Part two of a two-part series by Joey Butler of UMNS, reports on efforts to aid those trying to recover from Hurricane Irma across the state.
When mission teams “move in” at First Church, routines are disrupted, as church and self-help groups shift. But everyone willingly sacrifices, moving elsewhere on campus for a week or giving up amenities such as wi-fi.
Nearly 50 new case managers, construction and volunteer coordinators and one chaplain were recently hired by the Florida Conference through the $1 million UMCOR grant for disaster recovery. The diverse group will help extend outreach efforts for continued long-term recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Depending on the severity of damage and the stage of recovery, volunteers may be finishing work on a home after its owner moved back in. In this case, the family is living elsewhere, but they made several visits throughout the week to thank the Wisconsin team.
When Virgil Allmond returned nine days after the hurricane, he walked into the sanctuary and found water three-and-a-half feet deep. Constructed at a higher elevation, the church's dining hall and education building were under about two feet of water. Irma's brown waterline is visible on the exterior walls today, a reminder of the storm's impact.
Youth on a Mission recovery team organizers knew from their connections that conditions in the Keys were worse than the media was portraying four months after Irma hit. After all, debris is still piled everywhere landfill-like near high-end, waterfront homes.
From start to finish, see how this Concord CARES Mission Team finished repairs to a hurricane-damaged roof captured in the photos below. We are grateful for the UMC Connection that has brought ...
“It's a few months after the storm and nobody sees it any more in the news and thinks it's all better,” Days said. “But there is so much work to be done.”
With many displaced Puerto Rican families coming to Orange and Osceola Counties following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a district disaster coordinator from the Holston Conference drove 600 miles to deliver school kits and supplies to First Kissimmee UMC.
The sheer size of Irma and the massive destruction it left behind in September can lead some to forget that current disaster recovery volunteer teams are actually working on helping survivors of three storms: 2016’s Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew and 2017’s Irma.
Three months later, Irma's damage is not always obvious in some areas of the state. Key West International Airport re-opened less than two weeks after the storm, but the island community still looks like a disaster zone.